The Hyundai Tucson is a compact crossover that delivers stylish sheetmetal and composed handling. Limited cargo space and rear seat room mean that some buyers might be better served by a larger rival - or Hyundai's own Santa Fe Sport - but those simply searching for a dapper all-weather runabout will likely find it a solid choice.
Fluidic sculpture. Though that might sound like the latest trend in post-modern art, it's actually the curvaceous, flowing design language that Hyundai used to style the Tucson. The approach resulted in sinewy lines, a dynamic stance and a sleeker overall appearance than many competing models. For the latest model year, Hyundai took the extra step of freshening things up with new projector headlights with LED accents, rear LED taillights and new wheel designs.
The interior is likewise more attractive than the norm, and upgraded materials as part of this year's refresh give it a more upmarket feel. Though there's plenty of space up front, the rear seats are on the small side and lacks the expected reclining and fore-aft sliding capabilities. Stowage space measures 25.7 cubic inches behind the rear seats, and 55.8 cubic feet with the rear seats folded; most rivals offer up to 70 cubes.
The Tucson is available with Hyundai's Blue Link telematics service, which can be spec'd to provide voice text messaging, point-of-interest web search and download and automatic collision notification in addition to traffic, weather, restaurant and nearby gas station information. Bluetooth connectivity is standard.
The Tucson is available with the buyer's choice of 2.0- or 2.4-liter four-cylinder motors. Both of which were upgraded with direct injection for the latest model, a change that results in slightly more power but, in the case of the 2.4-liter, lower mileage.
The 2.0-liter is capable of 164 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque (up five lb-ft), while the 2.4-liter churns out 182 horsepower (up six ponies) and 177 lb-ft of twist (up nine lb-ft). Last year's five-speed manual has been retired, leaving a six-speed automatic as the only transmission.
Front-wheel-drive is standard on the Tucson; in this form, the 2.0-liter model returns 23/29 city/highway mpg (up one mpg in both cycles) while the 2.4-liter is good for 21/28 mpg (down two highway mpgs).
Those in need of better foul-weather traction can opt for all-wheel-drive, which lowers fuel economy to 21/25 mpg with the 2.0-liter and 20/25 mpg (down two highway mpgs) for the 2.4-liter.
For the latest model year, Hyundai has fitted the Tucson with SACHS amplitude selective dampers for improved ride comfort and more agile handling.
Trim Level Breakdown
The Tucson is offered in three trim levels - GL, GLS and Limited.
The entry-level trim comes standard with A/C, power windows and locks, a 160-watt AM/FM/CD/SiriusXM audio system with six speakers, AUX and USB jacks, Bluetooth connectivity, and 17-inch alloy wheels.
Stepping up to the GLS will earn you leatherette seats with cloth inserts, a 4.3-inch touchscreen display for the audio system, a rearview camera, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, heated front seats, fog lights, automatic on/off headlights and cruise control.
GLS models can be ordered with a Popular Equipment Package that adds a rear-view camera, a 4.3-inch color touchscreen audio display, an eight-way power driver seat with power lumbar support, leatherette seat bolsters with cloth insets and automatic headlights.
The top-dog Limited trim adds leather upholstery, LED headlights, the BlueLink infotainment system, dual-zone automatic climate control, proximity key with push button start and 18-inch alloy wheels.
Those looking to up the luxury ante can opt for the Technology Package, which brings a panoramic sunroof, a navigation system with seven-inch touchscreen, a rearview camera and a premium audio system.
All Tucson models come standard with dual front, front side and side curtain airbags along with traction and stability control systems and active front head restrains.
There are numerous compact crossover rivals to the Tucson including the Subaru Forester, the Toyota RAV4, the Ford Escape, the Mazda CX-5 and the Nissan Rogue.